John Canady took his 8-year-old daughter Kamri to Highland Park Wednesday to hang out and play on the swings. Then they noticed a colorful shed near the tennis courts and decided to head over to check it out.
Inside they found basketballs, Frisbees, tennis rackets and craft supplies, as well as three friendly people who let them work on a craft — painting a ceramic cat.
What John and Kamri accidentally stumbled across Wednesday is what one person called “the best kept secret in Kokomo.”
The secret? It’s the annual Recreation Adventure Program sponsored by the city’s parks and rec department.
Every weekday from now until July 26, kids of all ages can head to five different city parks from 1 to 5 p.m. to do crafts, borrow sports equipment, play games and hang out in a safe environment with park supervisors.
Although the program might be a secret to some people, it’s actually been around for decades.
“This has been going on here forever,” said Emma Glover, who was working as one of the program leaders in Highland Park on Wednesday. “My mom’s 40, and she said she did this when she was a kid. It’s been around awhile.”
And it’s no secret to the more than 3,000 kids who headed to city parks last year to participate in what’s become one of the most popular programs in the parks department.
It was secret for John Canady, however, and it’s one he said he’s glad he found out about.
He said Kamri has autism, and the program is a great way for her to learn new things and enjoy the outdoors.
“This is great for her and her motor skills,” he said. “It’s great for every kid, really, but especially Kamri.”
John said he plans to take his daughter to one of the five park locations at least a couple times a week now.